Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   General Poly Discussions (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   What the heck is love? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8480)

AnotherConfused 04-05-2011 11:32 PM

What the heck is love?

I don't have a question so much as I just want to hear the thoughts of like-minded people.

I found this site last summer when a long term friendship started getting passionate, although I am happily married. I was amazed to read about polyamory and realize things about myself I'd long struggled with, and with everyone's encouraging comments I was able to have some wonderfully frank talks with my husband about it all. He accepts that I fall in love with others, and I accept that he doesn't want me having sex with anyone but him. He also doesn't want to hear much about my feelings for other men, and I've been mostly fine this way.

Right now there are three men occupying my thoughts. My husband, "H", is someone I could praise for pages and pages. I don't know how I got so lucky.

Then the long term friend (since before I met H), who had me so confused last year. "L" lives a couple of hours away but we talk on the phone, and I can tell him absolutely anything. Unlike my husband, L loves and is attracted to many people like I am. When my libido is low it just takes a little visit or phone call with him and he has me feeling like the sexiest woman on the planet, and off I go to the marital bed. H knows that L turns me on and that I don't have sex with L. I think L improves my marriage.

These days suddenly I am strongly attracted to a man I dance with. (I go social dancing, sometimes alone and sometimes with my husband.) I can't say it's a sexual attraction exactly; "D" is 30 years my senior and nothing special to look at. It's the subtle communication of our bodies when we dance, and the way we look at each other, and the quiet conversations on the dance floor. I would like to dance with him all night. He feels the same.

Are these all "love"?

Maybe because it's the newest attraction, but I can spend hours daydreaming about D and the little things said on the dance floor, the funny little smile on his face when he pulls me close, and somehow this excites me more than a recent visit with L involving X-rated conversation and kissing, or a long sensuous evening with H including more orgasms than I can count. I think that I don't even want my interactions with D to grow to the no-holds-barred level of my conversations with L, and I don't want sex with either L or D, not only because my husband is against it but because the relationships would lose something -something about flirting around the edges of what's permitted. Something about the subtlety of the chase, maybe. D is married anyway, and paid dearly for an affair he had decades ago, so I definitely don't want to get him into trouble.

Polyamorous people, do you have these kinds of relationships? Connections that excite you, but aren't meant to lead anywhere? If my lifestyle permitted more sexual relationships, I think I would still want something like with D, with mystery and subtlety and evenings that end with sighs of longing. Am I just crushing, maybe?

I'd appreciate anyone's feedback, or stories. What are the shades of love?

Magdlyn 04-06-2011 12:19 AM

Love comes in many flavors. Agape, eros, caritas were words the Greeks had for 3 flavors on the list.

You may feel love for your husband and your friend, and sexual attraction and friendship with your dance partner. Enjoy it in all its variety!

AnotherConfused 04-06-2011 01:39 AM

I guess it doesn't really matter what I call it. I just confuse myself by having these feelings. Why should I feel so excited about a dance partner (I'm 40, he's 70, I mean really!) when I have a fulfilling and exciting sex life plus the love and attention of another wonderful man?

Reading around I see one can be "emotionally polyamorous" and "sexually monogamous" so I guess I'm not the only one.

Maybe I've always thought of relationships being about meeting one's needs: instinctively, to mate and bear offspring I suppose (done that). Additionally, to feel loved, appreciated, desired, etc. (I get lots of that). Practically, to share in the work of creating a home (check). Socially, to have a partner for companionship in life (got that too). I could probably think of more needs and my husband meets all those too, and if he leaves anything out I'm sure it gets fulfilled by L. So I'm just a little amazed at the strength of what I feel when D walks into the room, and I feel my smile spread ear to ear. Is he giving me anything I didn't already get? Other than having a solid grasp of how to dance the way I like it? (But H and L dance too; I met them each that way!)

If falling in love was only about fulfilling unmet needs, then it seems polyamorous relationships would carry the implication that the first partner was somehow falling short, and I'm quite sure that's not how most poly folks see things. I want some perspective. Why do I fall in love again and again? Why is it that the happier I am with my husband, the more I fall in love with others, and vice versa? It just doesn't make sense to me!

Magdlyn 04-06-2011 01:48 AM

Try reading the book Sex at Dawn. It's an anthropological study, but an easy read, which demonstrates humans are meant to be non-monogamous! It's monogamy that goes against our wiring.

Variety, flirting with or shagging other people, makes our primary relationship more exciting too. It's a fallacy that humans are meant to be mono, and a shame that women need to barter their bodies for food and protection during their child bearing years.

AnotherConfused 04-06-2011 02:04 AM

Thanks, Magdlyn. I'll give it a read.

I wonder though why monogamy comes so easily to so many people, though? And why it's just not right for others? So many people seem happy to focus on their one-and-only and find the thought of two lovers as silly as the the thought of wearing two pairs of shoes at once. Whereas I used to cheat or break up with boyfriends all the time, thinking each time I fell in new love that it must mean I'd fallen out of the old love, or it hadn't been love after all.

I don't feel like I've bartered my body for my childbearing years, at all. I feel like I have a man I love so much, I want to live with him and watch our children grow, and it's great that he makes money for us (I make some too) and we can share in the work of our home. I certainly have never had sex with him when I didn't want to. I think we must have had entire years without sex when I was too busy breastfeeding to want to share my body with anyone else, and he never complained. (I realize that's rare.) We do make small compromises to keep things going, but it doesn't really feel like much of a sacrifice to me to keep my other relationships out of bed.

I'll have to read the book. I want to know why I keep falling in love, if it can be called love!

idealist 04-06-2011 03:23 AM


Originally Posted by AnotherConfused (Post 74921)
So many people seem happy to focus on their one-and-only and find the thought of two lovers as silly as the the thought of wearing two pairs of shoes at once.

Maybe there are a lot of people who are happy to focus on their one-and-only, but over 50% of all marriages end, and from what I can see a lot of the long term monogamous relationships that are still together are held together by obligation and the promise they made, supported by the ingrained belief that monogamy is the only way and anything else is less than.

I agree with Magdlyn- monagamy isn't natural for most people, but most people don't allow themselves the opportunity to step out of the box. I would say what's happening to you is more normal than not.

Also- the question "why" is a futile attempt to explain the unexplainable!! Just go with it!!!

AnotherConfused 04-06-2011 03:49 AM

Idealist, are you saying it's not natural for people to stay in relationships long term, or just that you think long term relationships would work out happier if they were open? Lots of divorces have nothing to do with affairs, but more with the breaking down of communication, expectations, etc. Likewise I've seen many long term marriages that are extremely loving, and I've been enjoying the "ripening" of my marriage, how much sweeter it gets each year as we know each other deeper and share more experiences. We're not so much held together by a promise as by a choice. I'm choosing sexual monogamy because it pleases him, and I love him, and I don't think my other relationships would see much benefit from adding sex (most especially with my married dance partner). I really do get a kick out of talking with men about not having affairs together though! It's enough for me to know they like the thought of sex with me, and we can leave the rest to our imaginations.

So all right, yes. I'll just go with it. :) Right now it's falling for D, talking all about it with L, and taking that fire to bed with H, so life is certainly good.

zusammen 04-06-2011 03:53 AM

What a great question!
Not too long ago I was struggling with concepts of love myself... Once I detached it from romance, I pretty much realised I identify as poly.

Love for me is a special connection, but it can be of any type. There are people I love but have no particular interest in having sex with, or dating, although I love their company and may or may not have physical affection with them.

I love my family unconditionally. Marriage, for me, will come when I love someone unconditionally and want to make them family to me (as a spouse) and make a family with them (through having children). This will not affect my love for others, nor would I ever commit just because I like/love someone.

I love my cat. This love is also unconditional, as well as affectionate.

I don't love all my friends -- hell, I don't even necessarily like some of them! But there are friends I love in terms of fondness and simple liking.

Sex, on the other hand, for me, is either a physically enjoyable activity, or a form of connection and/or communication in itself. I can love without sex, and I can have sex without love.

Love has so many forms and it no longer matters to me what it means. It can mean very different things depending on the person/animal/thing in question. I only say "I love you" to someone who knows in what way I mean it for them (except for my cat. Pretty sure she doesn't understand it at all! :D )

stille 04-06-2011 05:27 PM

hi :)


Originally Posted by AnotherConfused (Post 74915)
Why do I fall in love again and again? Why is it that the happier I am with my husband, the more I fall in love with others, and vice versa? It just doesn't make sense to me!

not that it makes more sense, but also me and friends have discovered as more we are sexualiy satisfied, as more people we meet we find (sexually) attractive.

Is that the same for others?


MonoVCPHG 04-06-2011 06:01 PM

The biggest error and misinterpretation of any information regarding monogamy/non-monogamy and human nature is the injection of genralization and the lack of broader studies.

No one can speak for all humans. Some are monogamous and happy, others are non-monogamous and happy.
Helen Fisher is one of the most accomplished and published biological anthropologists. She is also one of the most published scientists in the area of human love. But again, she offers her research as not "the only way". Her brain mapping research is in depth and very widely recognized. If you want to know about love in the modern age I highly suggest to look at her research.

All times are GMT. The time now is 12:03 PM.